We reported last year on the police operation to close the UK Teknival at Dale Aerodrome in Pemrokeshire (Wales).
The court case arising from this ended in November 2010, with ten people pleading guilty to charges of holding an event without a suitable licence. They were given Community Service Orders, with nine sentenced to carry out 100 unpaid work and the other 160 hours. Charges were dropped against six other people who pleaded not guilty.
The charges were brought under Section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003, which deals with 'Unauthorised licensable activities'. The full text of the law is:
(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)he carries on or attempts to carry on a licensable activity on or from any premises otherwise than under and in accordance with an authorisation, or
(b)he knowingly allows a licensable activity to be so carried on.
(2)Where the licensable activity in question is the provision of regulated entertainment, a person does not commit an offence under this section if his only involvement in the provision of the entertainment is that he—
(a)performs in a play,
(b)participates as a sportsman in an indoor sporting event,
(c)boxes or wrestles in a boxing or wrestling entertainment,
(d)performs live music,
(e)plays recorded music,
(f)performs dance, or
(g)does something coming within paragraph 2(1)(h) of Schedule 1 (entertainment similar to music, dance, etc.).
(3)Subsection (2) is to be construed in accordance with Part 3 of Schedule 1.
(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding £20,000, or to both.
(5)In this Part “authorisation” means—
(a)a premises licence,
(b)a club premises certificate, or
(c)a temporary event notice in respect of which the conditions of section 98(2) to (4) are satisfied.
What this effectively means is that if you put on an event for which a licence is required, but you don't have a licence, you can be prosecuted. But note that people can't be prosecuted just for taking part (e.g. playing music or DJing). This would normally be used against a place like a pub or a private home that was putting on events. I think it would be difficult to apply to an event in a field or even a squat that didn't belong to the party organisers, as it's not their premises so they can't be held to have 'allowed' it to continue. The police/prosecution would also have to prove who was organising it rather than just taking part in 'the provision of the entertainment'.
Have there been any other successful prosecutions under this Act in relation to raves/free parties?